Throughout the history of China, the cultivation of a good moral character has been foremost in society. Confucius (551-479 B.C.), one of the greatest teachers in ancient times, practiced and taught etiquette, instilling in his people the importance of respect for others and for the self. This is especially recognized by martial arts practitioners, as they understand how important more character is in developing martial skills.
Many different things have been written over the years with respect to martial arts etiquette. Regardless of the small differences between the various styles, one point is universal: all agree that martial arts will not be taught to anyone who is of bad moral character. This it is important to actively cultivate a good moral character as part of your Kung Fu training. This is the core of your etiquette training. Specific etiquette practice in the school is not only mandatory, but essential to anyone who wishes to devote themselves to a martial art.
Northern Style Shaolin Kung Fu – YOUR style – has some very simple rules that must be followed at all times. They stem from a hierarchy that acknowledges respect for those who have more experience than others. All of these are generally learned as a part of your class or by observation. But since sometimes details may be overlooked, the following is a list of etiquette tips that will help you.
- When adjusting your uniform or sash turn your back to the instructor/highest rank until finished.
- The proper way to bow is to open your left hand and place the palm of it over the fist of your right hand. Your eyes should be straight forward and your back should be straight.
- Always bow whenever your instructor, or a higher belt gives you instructions.
- Response to your instructor should be swift and crisp! That means move when you are called up or going to sit down.
- When entering the training hall, wait to be “bowed” on to the floor or to the dressing area. NEVER cross or enter without permission.
- When your instructor is in the office and you wish to speak to him, always knock and await permission to enter. NEVER enter the instructor’s office unless you have been invited and NEVER enter if no one is present.
- Street shoes or tennis shoes are not allowed on the mat. Only bare feet or cotton bottom shoes are allowed on the mat.
- Extra articles such as shoes, shirts, gym bags, etc. are to be placed in the storage area provided. NEVER leave these articles lying around in an unorganized manner. This creates an unpleasant image and should be avoided at all times.
- Absolutely no talking during class unless you are specifically asked to respond to a question or teach by the instructor.
- Remember the studio is your studio and should be maintained in a fashion similar to your home. The organization and cleanliness of the studio is a direct reflection of your inner self and should be maintained in a respectful manner.
Following these basic tips is appreciated and will contribute to the enjoyment of your training at the Brea Shaolin Kung Fu School. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask (before or after class only) a senior belt. They will help you. Remember, the new student is watching you for proper etiquette. You are responsible for perpetuating the details and respect for your art.